Anime of the Week: Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (After the Rain)
After an injury, Akira Tachibana resigns from the track & field club and fills her time working a part time job at a local family restaurant, where she develops an infatuation with her manager, Mr. Kondo.
Art. The art and animation in this show is breath of fresh air. It is hand drawn, the lighting choices are gorgeous, and most importantly it breaks away from new-school shoujo-style trends, pulling us back into early 2000's alt-shoujo glimmery eyes and distinguished bangs.
Plot & Characters. I especially enjoy the characters in this series. While side characters are seldom given much attention, they are still dynamic. Akira's relationship with her close friend, Haruka, is an ongoing subplot that deals with an all too common theme of youth friendships: drifting apart. While this isn't the focus of the story, it really enhances Akira's character and solidifies the show's spot in the Slice of Life genre.
While the main plot focusing on Akira's budding relationship with Mr. Kondo traverses the age difference as smoothly as possible, it still brings a sense of distaste the the viewer as it should. This show could have easily become trope-y nonsense, and while it has mastered the "shoujo gleam" and the "shoujo bubble" effects, it maintains a sense of human emotion that we don't find with other age-difference love stories, especially in anime. Mr. Kondo's responsibility as a manager and adult remain present throughout, and he treads carefully as possible through whatever warmth may be growing between he and Akira. Akira maintains her youthful naivety throughout (at least so far).
Music. The soundtrack is piano-heavy, and just perfect for the series. The theme song is a perfect fit as well.
Should you watch it? This show is bound to give plenty of viewers the heeby jeebies given the age gap between Akira and Mr. Kondo. That said it's a refreshing series. If you're looking from a break from new-school art styles, spontaneous use of computer animation, or your genre of choice, it's worth a go.